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Debbie Walker

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The Fort
By Debbie Walker
Friday, October 30, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Debbie Walker
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A trip to a fort and a vision of the past

The Fort



There is a wonderful place here in Florida called St. Augustine. So much history and many places of interest to entertain you with or to learn from, the choice is yours.


Bud, my ex-husband, his parents and I decided to spend a couple of days there sometime in 1988 or 1989. My sales had been going well and we were ready for a little vacation. We drove over one morning and came back the next evening. It was only a couple hours drive one way for us.


We toured some of the old houses and listened to some of the stories told by people representing their building or site. The kitchens were pretty interesting comparing them to ours now. Such a stark reality however I could almost feel what the activity must have been like.


There was a man working at the stable, the blacksmith who I found to be extremely interesting to listen to. Listening to him was the first time I was introduced to the idea that our country’s history was not necessarily as it has been written. It seems written history may have been a little manipulated. This was a very new concept to me. My Dad was a history buff and it was hard for me to believe he wouldn’t have mentioned this concept to me at some point.


We finished our little trip by going to the fort. It was more of history for us to experience. You’re free to walk all around, in and out of all the rooms. You can go into the jail, the infirmary, kitchen, and I really enjoyed the chapel. But there was this one room though……….


We all walked into this room and I was immediately uncomfortable. As the rest were walking around and reading plaques, I was becoming more and more uneasy. I had this unbelievable sad feeling, very heavy of the heart type feeling. The others walked across the room to another opening, not quite a doorway; you would have to bend down a little to walk in. By that opening there was yet another plaque but for some reason I couldn’t get that far. I’d take a few steps closer to the opening and the feeling of heaviness was worse. Bud came over to me to see if I was going in with them. I made one more attempt, thinking this was just ridiculous, just do it, but there was no way. I told Bud I would meet them outside and out the door I went!


When I was outside I was in the bright sunshine and open fresh air and yet I still carried that heavy heart feeling. I went into the chapel from there thinking if I got interested in something else the feeling would go away. It didn’t go away, it stayed with me. My excitement was gone, replaced by a feeling I could only describe as “grief”.


Usually when I can get a view of water I just come to life inside. It gives me great comfort. However as beautiful as the view was from the top of the fort, even that wonderful view couldn’t change that heavy feeling. We left for home that afternoon. The next day, still feeling a very heavy heart I called my reality check friend, Tina. I can tell her anything and she almost at times seems like she’s anticipating the call. I relayed the past day’s experience and the still present heavyhearted feeling.


Tina had several possible explanations. The room was small and dark and did I have a problem with claustrophobia? My answer was that I’d never had a problem with this and there were other rooms as small and dimly lit but I hadn’t been bothered in them. Okay, next, was there any kind of smell that may have reminded me of a past bad experience? I thought about it and had to say no again. There was a damp, musty smell throughout the fort but again this didn’t feel like the reason for my reaction. Then Tina suggested I could have been there in a past life and was feeling some memory of this past life?


All those comments mulled through my mind as we said “Bye for now”, never goodbye.


A little later that morning I was talking with my mother-in-law about the fort and other buildings. I finally asked her what was in that room. She explained to me that it had been the original fort, this one room. Then they added on to the fort. When they did there had been prisoners, they were sealed in that room and left to die. In fact that room had only recently been discovered and they opened the wall and added this piece of history.


All of a sudden I understood the feeling I had been experiencing. It was their grief, the prisoners’ sadness as they realized their fate. The heaviness started to lift.


I called Tina back and told her what I had just heard and what my reaction was to the discovery. She told me it was possible that I was a sensitive and that would explain my feelings. However she said that it was still possible that I had been one of those prisoners.


There came a day years later where is seemed like of the blue, I was aware of all those feelings again and I “knew” that I had been one of the prisoners in that jail. One of the soldiers knew what was taking place and didn’t agree with what was happening, so he brought us what food he could without getting caught.


When they finished closing it in, it was totally black. The others went through various feelings of anger, distress and panic. I knew my fate was sealed along with that opening. I left the area of food, no need to postpone the inevitable by prolonging this thing. I felt my way to the back right hand corner. I had a blanket and with a very heavy heart and a sense of resignation I sat in the corner, wrapped in my blanket, awaiting my fate.


I know that one day I will go back to the fort. I’ve given up questioning why some things happen as they do. I don’t worry that anyone reading this will think I am ready for a rubber room, they have a right to their opinion too. I like to think if someone had told this story to me I could keep an open mind and remember there are a lot of things in this life that don’t need explanation; they just are what they are.



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